I’m excited to share my holistic approach to oral health. I’ve been learning so much about oral health the past several years. I really believe it’s going to become a pretty big deal. So many connections are being made now of the relationship between oral health and gut health. The pieces are starting to come together when it comes to oral health and all that it entails in the overall body. (1)
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I think we used to think of our body as separate from our overall body. That they weren’t connected. However, more and more research is proving how connected our body is to our oral health. The same bacteria in your mouth can travel into your body and cause inflammation, and infection. From Heart disease, to Alzheimer’s/Dementia, Diabetes, Respiratory Infection, and more. (2) In other words, the body is SO connected to the mouth. So it’s time we start paying attention to what’s happening in our mouthes and taking care of our oral health!
I’ve read several books over the years on oral health and the impact it has on our overall health. I wanted to share the list with you in case you also want to dive even deeper into the subject.
Books On Oral Health
- Dental Diet by Steven Lin
- Heal Your Oral Microbiome by Cass Nelson-Dooley, M.S.
- Jaws by Sandra Kahn and Paul R. Ehrlich
- Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel
*One more resource I love is this podcast. SO much information on oral health.
How To Find A Holistic Dentist
I often get asked how to find a holistic dentist. The International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology(IAOMT) is a great resource for finding a holistic dentist. You can check your local area here.
My Oral Routine
I wanted to share my oral care routine with you. Also, why I do certain things. It’s easy to think all that we need to do is brush our teeth with a natural toothpaste, floss and call it a day, but there is actually more to it than that- especially when it comes to what natural oral products you’re using.
Morning Oral Routine:
- Tongue Scrape- I first tongue scrape before I brush my teeth, well really before I do anything else. Even drink my water! Tongue scraping is one of the best ways to get the bacteria from the night before out of your mouth. According to Ayurveda it’s a direct way to remove toxins from your body. There are over 600 species of bacteria in our mouth alone. Some are good, some not. (3) The practice of tongue scraping helps to create balance in the oral microbiome. This is the tongue scraper I have and recommend. When tongue scraping you should move scrape your tongue 7-14 times from back to front. You can rinse your tongue scraper in between if you like. Not only does tongue scraping help remove toxins but it also helps with bad breath by removing build up.
- Brush with Hydroxyapatite Toothpaste- After tongue scraping I brush my teeth with hydroxyapatite. This is a mineral that helps to strengthen teeth and remineralize them. Our teeth are constantly going through a degrading process by the foods we eat. Hydroxyapatite helps to remineralize the teeth. That’s why I brush with this toothpaste. It contains hydroxyapatite.
- Mouthwash- Once I’m done brushing my teeth I’ll then use a mouthwash that contains hydroxyapatite. This is the mouthwash I love! It gives your whole mouth the freshest feeling and helps give you fresh smelling breath too.
There are over 600 species of bacteria in our mouth alone. Some are good, some not. (3) The practice of tongue scraping helps to create balance in the oral microbiome.
Nightly Oral Routine:
- Brush teeth- I brush my teeth again with my favorite hydroxyapatite toothpaste.
- Floss My Teeth- I then floss my teeth with this floss that is coated in hydroxyapatite. This helps to get the mineral in between your teeth which can often be one of the main areas for cavities and decay.
- Mouthwash- I rinse my mouth with mouthwash again at night. I’m addicted to the fresh clean feeling I get from using the mouthwash so I like to use it again before I head to bed. This is my fave mouthwash with the hydroxyapatite.
*I’ll be sharing more about why I use certain products in an upcoming post.
Tips From A Holistic Pediatric Dentist:
My holistic pediatric dentist that my kids go to was kind enough to send her top five ways to prevent cavities in your child. Such a great resource!
As a holistic oral health educator, the founder of NoPo Kids Dentistry, and the founder of Happi Floss, Doctor Staci Whitman is on a mission to create a cavity-free world. With her extensive education in both conventional dentistry as well as functional health, Doctor Staci is a trailblazer for holistic and preventative dentistry for both kids and adults.
5 Ways To Prevent Cavities In Children:
- Nasal Breathing Is Key- One of the most over-looked contributors to cavities is mouth-breathing. When we breathe through our mouths not only are we taking less oxygen(up to 20% less!) Which can affect growth and development, but the oral tissues and teeth get “dried out”, reducing the good cavity-protection that our saliva provides, dropping the pH to a more acidic state, and changing the oral microbiome. If your child is often breathing through their mouth during the day or during sleep, it is recommend to get to the root cause of the issue. Is it allergies? A physical blockage? A jaw position issue? A tongue-tie? A bad habit? Talk to your whole-body health team to discuss options if you are seeing this in your child.
- Stay Hydrated- Yet another benefit of water is keeping our saliva healthy and our oral tissues thriving. For similar reasons as mouth-breathing, we ned a nice and moist oral environment for proper balance and health. Try to offer water only to your child during the day, offering fresh juices, kombucha-like drinks, or fruit smoothies just as special treats or with meals. Moderation is key and always offer plain water after a non-water drink.
- Floss Any Teeth That Touch- This is my life’s passion…to get everyone to floss their teeth nightly. This includes children! Many parents get tricked seeing the nice wide spaces in their child’s front teeth and thinking they do not need to floss. Sadly, this is incorrect. The number one place I find cavities in children is in -between the back molars. These “flossing”, “hidden”, or “kissing”, cavities are almost always found in children who are not flossing or are not flossing properly. Most children have molars that are touching around the age of 2.5 years old, so starting early is KEY! We usually cannot see these types of cavities until we are able to take x-rays and most children cannot tolerate those until around 4 years old. By then, it can be too late. We need to removed tiny food particles and bacterial films from in between our teeth daily…places our toothbrush cannot reach. Remember prevention is key here!
- Eat On A Schedule- Antoher often under discussed topics is the importance of organized eating. By this, I mean not grazing or nibbling all day long, rather eating on a schedule. Our mouth’s need between 2-3 hours to naturally remineralize after the acid attach of foods or drinks other than plain water. Many children (and adults) tend to snack and sip drinks throughout the day, keeping their mouths in a constant state and therefore increasing cavity risk. My suggestion…try only offering food at certain times. Consider 8 am breakfast, 10 am snack where we sit and eat it completely, 12 pm lunch, 3 pm snack where we sit and eat it completely, 5:30/6pm dinner, quick bedtime snack, if needed (I suggest protein-heavy like cheese sticks, meat sticks, seeds, nuts, hard-boiled eggs, etc which are much lower cavity risks and keep children full longer), then floss and brush! Plain water only after your oral hygiene routine!
- Limit Processed Foods As Much As You Can- I know…this is a tough one, but many packaged foods marketed to kids are truly terrible for our teeth. They are highly processed with many artificial flavors, coloring, refined flours, and sugars…even the organic versions are not ideal. I like to say. “Try to eat unpackaged foods as much as you can.” Crackers, pretzels, cheese puffs, granola bars, dried cereals, fruit snacks…they should limit as best as you can. They stick in our teeth and break down into sugars and acids very quickly, causing lots of dental problems. Instead, try veggie sticks and hummus, or guacamole, seeds and nuts, olives and pickles, cheese, seaweed snacks, berries and fruit, hard-boiled eggs, meat sticks, etc. I try to meal prep on the weekends, including cutting veggies and fruits for ready-to-go snacks for the week ahead. It’s a pay-it-forward track that I have found to help my family tremendously.
If you liked this post, be sure to check out past posts below:
- Holistic Approach To Dentistry Podcast
- Best Natural Toothpaste Brands
- Best Nontoxic Shampoos and Conditioners